Help for Urinary Tract Issues – The Animal Doctor

The Animal Doctor by by Dr. Michael W. Fox

DEAR DR. FOX: I have read your book “The Healing Touch for Cats,” which is great. I have an 18-year-old cat with poor teeth and gums, and she always demands a strong tummy massage after every meal. Her digestion is unpredictable. She is on raw food most of the time and does not get on well with psyllium husk.

Is there a massage technique that will help to soothe her tummy and make her regular? I am trying my best to keep her healthy. — S.C., Kenilworth, Warwickshire, U.K.

DEAR S.C.: You are confirming what many cat caregivers have told me after they read “The Healing Touch for Cats”: As soon as they learn my basic massage routine, their cats soon start demanding it! The benefits are multiple, especially for older animals (including dogs, as per my related book, “The Healing Touch for Dogs”).

Constipation in older cats can be alleviated by deep, gentle, circular massage in a clockwise direction over the abdomen. The animal should be lying on his/her back, cradled on your thighs (or two pillows).

You mention having tried psyllium husk, but I would not advise this to facilitate bowel movements. Many cat owners have reported good results from mixing a teaspoon of mashed canned lima beans or unsweetened pumpkin into the cat’s regular wet food.

DEAR DR. FOX: A woman I know rescued a puppy who was not only thrown away, but also had her mouth tied shut with rope and a muzzle, which caused deep lacerations. The pup is now under vet care for the wounds and infections, and is wearing a plastic collar to keep her from scratching them.

The pup is healing physically, but she keeps having nightmares during her sleep. Should my friend offer her anything when this happens, or just let the nightmares wear themselves out? — L.H., Cleveland, Ohio

DEAR L.H.: Judging from my experiences with my own dog Kota — who, after living on the streets in Alabama, ended up in an animal shelter with her own litter of puppies and several wounds from dog fights — your friend’s poor abused puppy will likely experience nightmares for the rest of her life. But given love and security, and having been saved at such a young age, it is possible she may recover from her post-traumatic stress disorder.

There are skeptics who deny that dogs and other animals can suffer from PTSD, or that they even have emotions. Such attitudes can excuse and facilitate much animal cruelty, which should be prosecuted as a felony, not a mere misdemeanor. Our judicial system is behind the times and has not kept up with the science of animal sentience.

Kota sleeps at my side, and when she is having a nightmare, I comfort her as best I can. Your friend should likewise seek to comfort her puppy.


Whether or not you believe in telepathic communication, which this book details, you will enjoy reading it. It is a deeply emotional, reflective, philosophical saga of a young woman’s relationship with her German shepherd dog, Brady. This book opens the doors of our perception, sensibilities and understanding. It describes one step into what I call the empathosphere. (For details, see:

Considering the ways in which so many animals, wild and domesticated, are mistreated today, our doors of perception seem to be closed. My thanks to Dr. Slater for offering this engaging book to help open those doors. I wish everyone could experience the love of an animal other than a human, and then give that love and respect back to all creatures, great and small.


A recently published study shows that we are not the only species with the cognitive ability to understand language. The study evaluated dogs’ brain-wave activity in response to spoken words that referred to specific objects for them to retrieve. The results, say the study’s authors, provide “the first neural evidence for object word knowledge in a nonhuman animal.” (For details, see the study “Neural evidence for referential understanding of object words in dogs” by Marianna Boros et al., published in Current Biology, March 2024.)

(Send all mail to or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.

Visit Dr. Fox’s website at

Help for Urinary Tract Issues – The Animal Doctor

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